Toronto's booming real estate market fuels teardown trend

Toronto’s red-hot real estate market is fuelling a push to tear down homes on valuable land and replace them with newer, bigger replacements, sometimes to the shock of neighbours.

Teardown trend in Toronto homes weakens neighbourhoods, expert says

According to the City of Toronto, 375 teardowns have been approved between January 1 and May 11 this year. (Trevor Dunn/CBC)

Toronto's red-hot real estate market is fuelling a push to tear down homes on valuable land and replace them with newer, bigger ones, sometimes to the dismay of urban planners.

According to data from the City of Toronto, 375 teardowns were approved between January 1 and May 11 this year. 

There are large numbers of teardowns underway in south Etobicoke, but the clear hot spot is in North York where over half are located.

In Ward 23 alone, 76 homes have been approved to come down.

"It's a continual battle, which has gone on in Willowdale for the past 25 years," Coun. John Filion told CBC.

Teardowns are popular in Willowdale because the original housing stock is small and the lots are large and getting more valuable, he said.

The trend may be driving up property values, but Filion says efforts to create close-knit communities are weakened when big houses go up.

"People's houses are their own little castles. There really isn't the same interaction as there used to be," he said.

"It's part of the natural change, but you have to steer the change and control the change, too," Filion said.

Urban planning expert Mitchell Kosny worries the character of Toronto neighbourhoods may be disappearing.

"I think we're losing some of that flavour," said Kosny, who works in Ryerson University's School of Urban and Regional Planning.

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